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Old 01-27-2014, 10:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm hunting for a senior citizen-friendly transport, and it looks like a minivan is probably my best bet. ┬*I expect to only put about 5000 miles a year on it, and I'm not interested in making another car payment, so $4000 is about all I can spend. ┬*I figure that puts me in 2005 or earlier territory. ┬*Mostly the car will drive around town, but being a van it may sometimes draw road-trip duty.



Honda's out, don't trust their trannies from that era. ┬*I'm thinking it might be fun (as minivans go) to get an orphan from a discontinued brand. ┬*Saturn actually had a van back in the day, but it looks like it was quite a dog. ┬*Plymouth Voyager might be a good bet, dead-brand cache but access to Chrysler's bottomless parts bin. ┬*



Comments, suggestions?
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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2005 Chrysler T&C can be had all day long in Ky for that price, and with reasonable miles, too.┬*
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I own a Saturn Relay FWD3 2005 model with 143K miles on the clock. I am the FIFTH owner in its life, which started as a GM press unit in 2004 (for real - who knows, maybe one of the TTAC staffers drove it and trashed it in their review).

Mechanically, at the core, engine, tranny, AC, heat, basic electrical like locks, windows, rear defrost, etc. are all solid.

I can recommend - BUT - only get a FWD2 (stripped not equipped) and if you can at all possibly find one without the power sliding doors - stay far, far, far, away. Once the weather stripping starts to fail and the doors get the least bit out of alignment due to old age, all sorts of issues that will likely result in you pulling fuses.

It's a tad on the thirsty side, but not horrific, the 3.5L V6 is meh, but reliable. The ride is soft, to a fault, as is the steering. On the other hand it is quite, a nice highway cruiser, and I'm told by occupants comfortable.

I've had mine for 3-1/2 years now. Paid $7.5K for it (it has just about every option in a FWD configuration for the year) with 96K miles on the odometer (bought in 2010). It had a clear Carfax - the history as starting out as a GM press unit is kind of cool.
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2009.1 Pontiac G8 GT
White Hot w/ Onyx interior, Premium Package, Sport Package, Sunroof

SHOW: Holden conversion including badges, Holden backup assist, Holden triple digital center console gauges, custom made Holden instrument cluster calibrated for US MPH, front clip shaved w/ painted lower grilles, matte black hood scoops, clear bra, 35% tint, auto dimming mirror, Homelink, bass bias mod, VG shark fin antenna, Vehicle In Motion modification, Bluetooth, full size spare w/ GM jack kit provided by Pace, glovebox light, white fuse covers, Rotofab radiator cover, engine cover custom painted w/ SS trim, billet aluminum engine bay trim, SS hood liner, Maverick Man billet fasteners, MGP caliper covers, Third Shift Studios plaque, JBL MS-8, Morel speakers all around, SAS 10" sub, Redline Goods rear armrest

GO: Volant CAI, Superchips Cortex 91 tune, Billet Prototypes white catch can, modded lower grille, Solo Performance┬*axle backs; DBA 4000 series rotors; Russell SS brake lines; ATE Blue; Hawk ceramic pads, Camaro SS 20s 245/35F & 275/30R with custom center caps

0-60 MPH: 5.01 Seconds | 1/4 Mile: 13.354 Seconds @ 105.85 MPH | 290kW / 572Nm DynoJet uncorrected
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Also worth noting that most of the parts that would work on a Chevy Uplander, Pontiac Montana (2005+), and Buick Terranza [sic?] will work on the orphaned Saturn.
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2009.1 Pontiac G8 GT
White Hot w/ Onyx interior, Premium Package, Sport Package, Sunroof

SHOW: Holden conversion including badges, Holden backup assist, Holden triple digital center console gauges, custom made Holden instrument cluster calibrated for US MPH, front clip shaved w/ painted lower grilles, matte black hood scoops, clear bra, 35% tint, auto dimming mirror, Homelink, bass bias mod, VG shark fin antenna, Vehicle In Motion modification, Bluetooth, full size spare w/ GM jack kit provided by Pace, glovebox light, white fuse covers, Rotofab radiator cover, engine cover custom painted w/ SS trim, billet aluminum engine bay trim, SS hood liner, Maverick Man billet fasteners, MGP caliper covers, Third Shift Studios plaque, JBL MS-8, Morel speakers all around, SAS 10" sub, Redline Goods rear armrest

GO: Volant CAI, Superchips Cortex 91 tune, Billet Prototypes white catch can, modded lower grille, Solo Performance┬*axle backs; DBA 4000 series rotors; Russell SS brake lines; ATE Blue; Hawk ceramic pads, Camaro SS 20s 245/35F & 275/30R with custom center caps

0-60 MPH: 5.01 Seconds | 1/4 Mile: 13.354 Seconds @ 105.85 MPH | 290kW / 572Nm DynoJet uncorrected
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, may have to give it a look. ┬*Seemed like most complaints were about the doors.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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2nd Gen Quest/Villager '99-'02. 3.3L V6, smaller than the Oddysey or GC/T&C, but much better transmissions.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Normally i'm a fan of most things Blue Oval, and anything quirky. BUT in this situation - GC/T&C/Voyager should be the winner. ChryMoCo only made like 4 trillion of the **** things, 85% are still on the road, you the parts are eaaaaaaaaassssy to get.



for the "Something Different" factor, see if you can find a later Chevy Astro/GMC Safari Conversion van
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I rented an Astro once, I kind of liked it but it was a little too trucky I'm thinking. ┬*Re the Villager, I remember a TTAC story about one a while back, it did seem like an interesting vehicle, I'll check them out.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Actually, the Villager and the Astro aren't bad recommendations.



The Astro is thirsty and built on a truck platform - but they are based on reliable, albeit GM the really awful years interior technology (but heck, the U-Bodies aren't much better in that respect).

I seem to remember that the Village and the Gen I U-Bodies are death traps in crash tests (well, nothing has ever tested worse than the Gen I U-Bodies built from '96 to '05* in IIHS crash tests).



* To make things really confusing, Gen I and Gen II (well really Gen 1.5) U-Bodies were sold side-by-side as 2005 model year vehicles. The Saturn was only in Gen II, but the Montana in 2005 could be had as a Gen I or a Gen II. The Gen II was dramatically improved in crash tests. The Gen I vans did horrific - do a search for 97 TransSport on YouTube.
__________________
2009.1 Pontiac G8 GT
White Hot w/ Onyx interior, Premium Package, Sport Package, Sunroof

SHOW: Holden conversion including badges, Holden backup assist, Holden triple digital center console gauges, custom made Holden instrument cluster calibrated for US MPH, front clip shaved w/ painted lower grilles, matte black hood scoops, clear bra, 35% tint, auto dimming mirror, Homelink, bass bias mod, VG shark fin antenna, Vehicle In Motion modification, Bluetooth, full size spare w/ GM jack kit provided by Pace, glovebox light, white fuse covers, Rotofab radiator cover, engine cover custom painted w/ SS trim, billet aluminum engine bay trim, SS hood liner, Maverick Man billet fasteners, MGP caliper covers, Third Shift Studios plaque, JBL MS-8, Morel speakers all around, SAS 10" sub, Redline Goods rear armrest

GO: Volant CAI, Superchips Cortex 91 tune, Billet Prototypes white catch can, modded lower grille, Solo Performance┬*axle backs; DBA 4000 series rotors; Russell SS brake lines; ATE Blue; Hawk ceramic pads, Camaro SS 20s 245/35F & 275/30R with custom center caps

0-60 MPH: 5.01 Seconds | 1/4 Mile: 13.354 Seconds @ 105.85 MPH | 290kW / 572Nm DynoJet uncorrected
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Old 02-05-2014, 03:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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We had a couple GMC Safaris (Astros) back in the 90s and liked them a lot. However they are also deathtraps in IIHS crash tests.

Never though I'd recommend a Chrysler product over a Honda because of transmission issues, but here we are. Daimlerchrysler made a billion of those vans, and they are dirt cheap, so that's what I'd suggest.
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